Ickenham wheelchair tennis hero Jordanne Whiley retained herdoubles crown on Sunday and revealed the driving force behind her success.
Whiley and Japanese partner Yui Kamijiafter a back-and-forth match which saw them eventually beat Dutch rivals Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 at the All England Club.
Whiley earned the first service hold of the women’s final to take the top seeds into a 3-2 lead and they used their momentum to take the opening set after winning five games in row.
They made it eight games in a row to take a 3-0 second-set lead before second seeds Griffioen and van Koot battled back to force the customary decider in games between these four.
A tense final set saw the defending champions earn what turned out to be the vital break, as they seized the initiative at 5-3.
Whiley held her nerve to serve out and give herself and Kamiji their sixth Grand Slam title out of the seven majors after finishing runners-up to Griffioen and van Koot at last month’s French Open.
Whiley’s boyfriend, Marc McCarroll, Ickenham’s other wheelchair tennis ace, was a proud spectator in SW19 and Whiley told the Gazette he provides the support and guidance she needs to win at Grand Slams like Wimbledon.
“It’s a tight-knit group and it is especially nice to have Marc here,” Whiley said of her coaching team.
“He’s not just my boyfriend, he’s my best friend as well. He thinks he’s my coach, but he’s not!
“It’s great to have him and all of my family here for me.
“Marc gives me a lot of advice and he talks tactics a lot, which is good, but sometimes it’s a bit too much!
“This [Wimbledon] is the most important tournament. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be achampion.
“I already was but I wanted more and this year is really important for me.
“I feel like I’ve got more fans this year, my management team have done a good job of getting me in the media a lot more and I want to do a great job for British tennis.
“It’s always difficult to come back and defend your title and today certainly wasn’t easy.”
While Whiley, McCarroll and Andy Lapthorne all now chase more title success this week at the British Open in Nottingham, next week it will be the turn of Ruislip’s Valeria Copenhagen. Copenhagen is one of ten Brits selected by the Tennis Foundation for the first World Deaf Tennis Championships, which also take place at Nottingham Tennis Centre, from July 20-26.
The Eastcote Lawn Tennis Club member took up tennis aged 11, but only played at her first National Deaf Tennis Championships four years ago.
She returned to the event in 2014 before joining the National Deaf Tennis Squad in November. Copenhagen was runner-up to Oxfordshire’s Beth Simmons at this year’s National Championships, in May, and also partnered Simmons to win the women’s doubles national title.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous, but I’m very excited and proud,” said Copenhagen of her call-up for an event that will feature in excess of 80 players from more than 20 countries.
Harbans Sidhu worked with the charity United Sikhs to help hundreds of Indian nationals to return home.
A volunteer from Ickenham has been awarded with a British Empire Medal for her services to the Sikh community.
Harbans Sidhu, 57, worked with the charity United Sikhs to help hundreds of Indian nationals to return home. She said: “It all started with an influx of immigrants, some of them were desperate people. I thought: 'This could be my son on the street'. “Initially we starting giving them clothing and food but then we found some of them wanted to go home. "So I started calling the Home Office. It took a lot of meetings, leg-work, convincing, influencing but we've sent over 300 people home now.” Ms Sidhu, who tragically lost her husband and brought up their two children single-handedly, is honoured in recognition of her hard work. She said: “I didn't expect anything, everyone helps other people. I felt a bit shaken, that somebody is recognising what I do." Humble Ms Sidhu, who says volunteering is “part of who she is” was nominated by the Home Office for the achievement. She explains what it's like when an Indian national is returned to their family: “I can't tell you the feeling, I can't describe the good feeling. “I feel like my life is worth living when you've helped someone and you make a change to their life. “We just did it all quietly and we didn't know that somebody upstairs is watching us.” United Sikhs are based within the Ealing community, attending the Singh Sabha Gurdwara. Ms Sidhu acted as a crucial conduit between Immigration Enforcement (IE) and individuals, arranging paperwork and meeting IE staff to progress cases. She spent her free time counselling individuals, reassuring their travel arrangements. She added: “There are no opportunities for these people India, they aren't educated. So they came here for economic reasons. The minute you hand them a ticket and they can go back home, their eyes just fill with tears and it's such a reward for me.” After already giving seven years of volunteering, Ms Sidhu hopes to continue helping people, now as a qualified mediator.